Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has issued a warning to Ohio business owners about a deceptive letter offering to sell a government service that the State of Ohio provides for free.
One of the newest in a line of suspicious, misleading, and even fraudulent mailers involves Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings. This mailer claims to “obtain and mail a hard copy of your Ohio UCC Financing Statement Form” for a $90 fee. The same PDF document being referenced can be downloaded and printed for free at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website at https://ucc.ohiosos.gov.
Warning: A mailer has been sent to several Ohio businesses scamming them into spending $90 to obtain a free form.
Guidance for Ohio Business Owners: These letters are not affiliated with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office or any government entity. Businesses can click here to learn more about the common suspicious and deceptive correspondence of which they should be wary. Businesses should report any suspicious solicitations to business@OhioSoS.gov or 877-767-3453 (877-SOS-FILE).
“While it comes as no surprise, there are many bad actors among us trying to target Ohio’s hard-working entrepreneurs,” said LaRose. “As I work with my team to look at all possible options to further shield businesses from these scams, I encourage all Ohioans to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to my office.”
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office has taken steps to refer this matter to the consumer protection division at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for additional investigation and prosecution if warranted.
Scams targeting businesses have been on the rise nationwide in the last decade. Similar misleading solicitations have targeted Ohio businesses for services such as certificates of good standing, annual reports, and EINs.
- UCC Financing statement is a form that a creditor files to give notice that it has an interest in the personal property of a debtor. It is typically filed by a bank, not an entrepreneur.
- A free hard copy PDF of UCC filings can be found at https://ucc.ohiosos.gov.
- The fee to submit an Initial UCC Financing Statement or an Amendment is $12.00 and a UCC Certified Search Report (UCC 11) costs $20.00.
Businesses can click here to learn more about the myriad deceptive practices targeting Ohio businesses.